Taste Test: The Best Bottled Iced Teas

We taste-tested bottled iced teas from the grocery store to find our thirst-quenching favorites.
Ice Tea
BEST CITRUS TEA

Snapple Lemon Iced Tea

Snapple has ditched high-fructose corn syrup for real sugar, making our judges' mouths happy. The blend of strong black and delicate green teas lets the bright lemon shine through: "This one's got the tartness going on," said one taster, mid-pucker. ($1.40 for a 16-ounce bottle, at most grocery stores)

BEST FLAVORED BLACK TEA

Archer Farms Blueberry Tea

Since black tea can be so tannic, it usually doesn't play nice with berries. So we were pleasantly surprised with Archer Farms' tea. "Just a hint of blueberry and sugar lighten up this winner," one taster noted. ($1.30 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, at Target stores)

BEST BLACK TEA

Sweet Leaf Sweet Tea

Ten years after Christopher Clayton started brewing tea in pillowcases, Sweet Leaf has taken off. The Chinese tea, with its "musky flavor" and cane sugar, is brewed for just 5 1/2 minutes, so it's never bitter. ($1.40 for a 16-ounce bottle, at select grocery stores)

BEST FLAVORED GREEN TEA

Steaz Organic Iced Teaz Green Tea with Peach

One sip and we were hooked on the fresh peach flavor. "I can almost taste the fuzz," a panelist insisted. Steaz mixes fair-trade green tea with a touch of sugarcane and real peach juice -- and packs it all in a cool pop-top can. ($1.40 for a 16-ounce can, at most natural grocery stores)

BEST FLAVORED WHITE TEA

New Leaf Strawberry White Tea

You won't find an ounce of artificial fruit flavor here. New Leaf sweetens its delicate white tea with real strawberries and cane sugar, prompting one panelist to say, "It tastes like a fresh berry compote." ($1.60 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, at most natural grocery stores)

BEST GREEN TEA

Ito En Japanese Green Tea

Oi ocha (translation: "tea, please") is written on the bottle, and this "rich yet clean and bright" green tea definitely had tasters begging for more. Panelists loved its balance and "pleasant toastiness." ($2 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, at select specialty stores)

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in June 2009.

 

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